How would you compensate for long delays by the characters?


Curse of the Crimson Throne


In my game, the characters/players keep looking for places to stop and take long breaks to make magic items. This wasn't as much of a problem until they left the city and headed out towards Kaer Maga. During the trip to reach the Shoanti for the "vital information we have to get to stop all the bad things", they stopped in every largish place along the way and took almost 3 in game months just sitting around to make everything they could afford to. This is in addition to the plain old travel time.

I have no problem with them doing that in general, but I don't want to have the world come to a pause outside of them.

So how would you adjust things to give them a sense of urgency? Or would you? I've told them that the world doesn't stop just because they do, but I'm not sure how to reflect that in game. And I really don't like to just say "No you may not" or just have them get back to Korvosa at some point and be told "Oh, it's over and the bad guys won".


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

WANDERING MONSTERS

but seriously, they PCs should only be leaving Korvosa because they HAVE TO. They should want to get back as soon as they can.

That being said, the damage is done to the campaign. All you can do is hope that they don't do the same on the way back - so wreck their day a bit with monsters and attacks and thieves and other stuff. You can also make it clear to them with "word from Korvosa" bringing ever more terrifying news.

Also maybe shame them with them being passed by a caravan of cripples fleeing the city.

When these sloths get back to Korvosa, they:

a) encounter a much stronger set of villains
b) a city much more in shambles
c) they shouldn't have benefited from their delays. their potential allies in the city should be in dungeons, their friends and family in dire straits or in exile, etc.


Yakman wrote:

WANDERING MONSTERS

but seriously, they PCs should only be leaving Korvosa because they HAVE TO. They should want to get back as soon as they can.

That being said, the damage is done to the campaign. All you can do is hope that they don't do the same on the way back - so wreck their day a bit with monsters and attacks and thieves and other stuff. You can also make it clear to them with "word from Korvosa" bringing ever more terrifying news.

Also maybe shame them with them being passed by a caravan of cripples fleeing the city.

When these sloths get back to Korvosa, they:

a) encounter a much stronger set of villains
b) a city much more in shambles
c) they shouldn't have benefited from their delays. their potential allies in the city should be in dungeons, their friends and family in dire straits or in exile, etc.

Don't know how much more shambled the city can get. :D


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I'd be a lot clearer about what's happening than "the world won't stop for you". Word comes from Korvosa, first that Cressida Kroft has been arrested. 2 weeks later, that she's been executed. Then, the Acadamae has been taken over. 3 weeks later, the Acadamae has been burnt down. Next, Bishop D'Bear of the Church of Pharasma has been replaced with an Illeosa-toady. 4 weeks later, the Church ceases to exist and the Gray District is expunged.

But if the PCs are more concerned with making magic items than the story or the NPCs, it's a hard problem to fix. For that kind of thing, you could point out that this is also providing the NPCs with time to craft and obtain their own magical items - and with unfettered access to the treasury of Korvosa to do so - making the magical arms race be one that they can only come out weaker from the more time they put in.


Perhaps Sermignatto has brought in some more infernal servitors to 'prepare' Korvosa for the plans of his master, or perhaps Ileosa has obtained more for the defense of the Sunken Queen (likely via scrolls of Planar Binding, as to not deplete Castle Korvosa's defenses); Maybe Ileosa's even gotten herself a succubus for that sweet, sweet profane bonus, or perhaps the fake Ileosa really likes Nessian Warhounds and got herself some extras (Or perhaps the real Ileosa also likes Nessian Warhounds and had some brought to the Sunken Queen.)

More Gray Maidens in Korvosa.

More Red Mantis Assassin attacks on the PCs; perhaps Kayltanya gets the payment to call in more of the order and goes take out the PCs with a small crew of well-provisioned Assassins right before they return to Korvosa in Crown of Fangs. If you're feeling cheeky, have her deliver a one-liner about how long it took for her to get this all organized.

Perhaps Sabina has finally broken from Ileosa's shadow on her own — and then was summarily executed for treason with the majority of the rebel forces in Korvosa already dead or imprisoned and unable to aid her.

When the players begin the final part of Crown of Fangs, Ileosa is closer than 10 days to the completion of her ritual at the Everdawn. How close should probably be tuned to how much time your players have slacked off during, but they should still have time to get to the Everdawn and confront Ileosa at least once. She already has pretty good gear, but consider giving her extra to represent the additional time she's had to craft.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Duamatef wrote:
Yakman wrote:

WANDERING MONSTERS

but seriously, they PCs should only be leaving Korvosa because they HAVE TO. They should want to get back as soon as they can.

That being said, the damage is done to the campaign. All you can do is hope that they don't do the same on the way back - so wreck their day a bit with monsters and attacks and thieves and other stuff. You can also make it clear to them with "word from Korvosa" bringing ever more terrifying news.

Also maybe shame them with them being passed by a caravan of cripples fleeing the city.

When these sloths get back to Korvosa, they:

a) encounter a much stronger set of villains
b) a city much more in shambles
c) they shouldn't have benefited from their delays. their potential allies in the city should be in dungeons, their friends and family in dire straits or in exile, etc.

Don't know how much more shambled the city can get. :D

you can just have Ileosa win, and the PCs can deal with the fallout from that.

Serves them right.


Right now, my thinking is that they will get word of the city from some Shoanti they have met previously that used to dwell in the woods north of the city. (They ran through one of the PFS scenarios previously).

Otherwise they're pretty much in the middle of nowhere and may not run across anyone due to location. (How many refugees are going to be fleeing towards the Hold of Belkzen after all, which is pretty much the only place anyone they pass will be going to)
Of course, they might also run across some of the less savory type of merchants who -would- be traveling to Urglin.

Thinking they will get word of open rebellion, lots of people being taken into "protective custody", word of other bad things like that. The guard disbanded due to loyalty issues.

Plus, I have set up another encounter they are liable to have where they will find the remains of another adventuring party. Among the remnants will be a journal describing some more information the deceased saw or heard of Korvosa before they left.

Haven't decided on my order of who's gonna be dead because of them list.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You're using the word "compensate" where the word "punish" works much better.

-Skeld


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Potayto, potahto. If the consequence for an action (or inaction) is negative, it's still the consequence.

If a character searches a room, they find something. If they don't, they don't find it. The result is the consequence of their actions.

In this case, if they get on with saving the city, xx happens. If they don't, then a whole lot of yyyyyy happens. It's the consequences of them not doing anything that I'm interested in.

There's generally not a lot of description in AP's of what happens in that case.


I agree that negative consequences for a prolonged inaction should have place. It’s not a punishment because GM isn't there to cosplay a line of code from a video game and wait indefinitely for meaningful party progress in the plot. At least, this AP isn't a sandbox as Kingmaker or Skull and Shackles are, where players can gallivant and do stuff as much as they want. We, as GMs, can set the pace to be slower. However, if party doesn't move forward, knowing that Big Bad is going to do Big Evil and it's only matter of time... Well, or switch the campaign to a sandbox or drop the hammer.

Now, not knowing the details of your run of AP and trying not to project mine on it, I'll advice in somewhat broad strokes:

1. Let the party know (preferably from Neolandus/Vencarlo), that Ileosa eliminated any meaningful political opposition in Korvosa. If you're using updated edition of AP, she set a trap for them by running public execution of Marcus Endrin. His loyal "bannermen" (except Kressida) tried to save him/start a rebellion, but where caught, killed, and their small aristocratic families slaughtered. Without them, those who remained in anarchy/plague ravaged city understood the message, and run to pledge their allegiance openly to the queen.

2. Peerage Review, the aristocratic "board" of five most powerful noble houses of the city that "approve" monarchs decrees, is now obsolete. Arkonas are down/blockaded in Old Korvosa quarantine zone. Zenderholm is on the Queen side (Zenobia being now undead). Ornellos is neutral-ish (comfortable with supplying Ileosa side with magic items for being left alone in Academae). Jeggare and Leroung after massacre from point 1 got the "message" and went team Queen too.

3. City Guard is not disbanded but is sent to garrison and patrol the Korvosan holdings far-far outside the city. The token number that remained inside is just that - a token, in comparison to growing numbers of Gray Maidens.

4. Churches with political capital (Asmodeus and Abadar) are pro-Ileosa too. Asmodean just because they where okay with her actions before and now are preferring to sit quietly. Abadar - archbanker Darb Tuttle made critical mistake in supporting her (somewhat) earlier (riot and plague time), and now is playing along and tries to save the church (and his position) by sending away those abadarians who don't go along with "party line". Dispersion of city guard that Abadar Church was heavily funding (to keep it dependent on them) didn't help either.

5. Numbers of Gray Maidens are growing fast, way too fast. Even for an increasingly tyrannical grip that Ileosas rule becomes, it's impossible to have that much resources to continuously supply new members with ready full-plate armor, heavy shield and bastard swords.

6. Detachments of Gray Maidens where sent to Veldraine and Palin's Cove. First one to assure that Korvosa Navy stays loyal, and second, to secure the siege weapons factories.

7. Aside from this, citizens of the city are increasingly forbidden to leave it (mostly taking women from families to serve in Gray Maidens).

All of this to reinforce the fact that Neolandus position as true seneschal is now more symbolic than effective one. Ileosa has all the political capital now to just ignore him, if he somehow would show in Korvosa and demand from her to step down.

If this doesn't motivate them, then it's time to get a little personal. Find from players if their characters have flavor NPCs from their backgrounds. This is the expendable list. Let party know that number of these NPCs are missing or plainly executed by the Ileosas regime.
And if that doesn't make them move, well, time to get ridiculous. Party of my players is quite powerful, which made me painfully aware that at that moment (11th level) they could take Ileosa down, if they would decide to go YOLO and assassinate her. So I went preventive. Took the raid on Red Mantiss temple from the end of fourth arch (updated edition) and used it early. Long story short, party almost cleared the place, while sappers were preparing explosives to blow the place up. Then Ileosa shows. Party being somewhat resource depleted tries cautiously to take some shots at her. And here is where I went ridiculous by giving her "plot armor". Noting fancy, just all kind of attacks againts here fail critically, and her attacks and saves have auto-success (with criticals). In addition, all possible senses/visions, inability to take her crown away (only if she takes it off) and mad regeneration. After critically slapping rogues face with the palm of her hand, she "chased" them a bit. Until party detonated the explosives and blew the temple to the sky. Of course, this was just a mere "flesh wound" for Ileosa who dug herself after an hour. She was madder that party ruined her dress, shoes and nails with hair, than tried to kill her. After all this, party was sent to shoanti, to find more information that would lead to McGuffin/sword. Meta, sword will create anti-plot armor field, and give Ileosa normal stats for final fight.

Hope this helps!


I had the exact same issue. My players went through Kear Maga on their way to the Cinderlands. I put together a couple of side adventures for fun and the players decided to settle down while the mage created some magic items.

I didn't mind that they were making magic items, but it started to get ridiculous and I wanted to move on with the actual adventure. So, some of the Player Character's family members were apprehended and executions were scheduled. Then, 2,000 Korvosans suddenly died in the streets (as Ileosa experimented with the Everdawn Pool). Finally, Vencarlo paid a visit to chastise them and introduce them to a new group of adventurers he assembled to go into the Cinderlands to continue the mission. This last one really got them off their butts.


I like the idea of Ileosa experimenting and some just dropping dead.


I would use a more blunt approach. As, I personally think they may have missed the urgency memo. I would straight up talk to the players, and give them some options:

1) You take these months to craft, and you have no reason to return to Korvosa as the city will be way beyond there reach power wise. As the time spent they spent, Ileosa spent demolishing any hope they had at getting aid to take the city (aka you waited to long, and we choose another adventure to play)

2) They scale back the time to a more reasonable week or so and they keep the pace and have a chance to return to Korvosa and complete the Adventure as the Adventure Path is set.

or you as a DM.
1). Hand-waive the crafting times to stay on target, and raise the CR for the rest of the encounters, as there item level will be much higher. The gear created during this off time, is most likely not accounted for in the AP.

Just my 2 copper


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would simply say no. APs aren't the same as regular adventuring. They give you waaaaay more than expected WBL already. The first book alone is in the 48k GP range, if they sold everything. More if they keep a lot. Allowing your players to subvert that even further just creates more work for you as a GM. If they respect you at all, they won't argue when you limit them. If they don't, well then, you have everything you need to know about your group.

Grand Lodge

My answer to the whole crafting time issue was to not allow the item creation feats in one AP. Kills two birds with one stone. I do allow the bonus crafting feats that come with certain classes.

In this AP I limited them to a crafting cost equal to half their CWL. None of them choose to take the feats so far.

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